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Journey of a DPT Student

Back to Basics

Published November 11, 2013 5:19 PM by Lauren Rosso

In case you haven't followed the past few blogs, I started a new clinical on Monday after having spent six months in an inpatient rehab setting. I'm now interning at an outpatient center where the patient population spans the entire gamut -- orthopedics, neurological, cardiopulmonary, post-op, chronic pain, worker's comp etc. With all of the variation, I feel like I have to go back to the very basics of musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary PT just to be semi-functional and relatively independent.

One of the more intimidating parts of this switch is that I understandably am being held to a higher standard with higher expectations, which means the facility is looking to build my caseload as quickly as possible. I felt overwhelmed just talking about my schedule for the upcoming week. I feel completely unprepared on certain days, which is a significant shift from how I felt when I left the hospital. In some ways, I thought I would have been able to accept an entry-level position with just a bit more practice. That's definitely not the case anymore.

One of the biggest adjustments I've had to make has to do with my evaluation skills. Whereas in the hospital a lot of the evaluative tools were screening measures for all systems, the outpatient world is much more focused on the specific musculoskeletal details causing or complicating certain deficits. I can't tell you the last time I measured someone's knee flexion ROM in prone. I can't imagine how many small details I've forgotten that are going to take some time to remember and implement regularly, which for now means my confidence levels are going to plummet back to the depths of second-year Lauren. Yikes.

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I can definitely relate to feeling intimidated by material that was taught what seems so be long ago. As a 1st year (soon to be 2nd year) DPT student, I feel like material that has taught at the beginning of our program is in the past. What makes it even more difficult is that this material is reoccurs. Courses are based off of the knowledge we have gained. The material that was taught is material that should always be considered, not forgotten. With the increasing amount of material learned, I cannot help but feel like older material is slipping away. But just like your evaluation issue, I too am somewhat discouraged when I cannot recall the material I have learned. But to be the best PTs we can possibly be, we must re-educate ourselves and be prepared for what our field throws at us. We must put forth our best effort so we can provide our patients with the best care we can provide. I am sure that it is challenging and strange to start a clinical at an unfamiliar site, but we must adjust to the demands of the site. We must ignore the negative thoughts we may have about the knowledge we lack and find motivation to relearn material to care for our patients.

Heather Horwath, , SPT ECU March 12, 2014 4:54 PM
Greenville NC

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